Budget gap swells to P879.2 B

Published October 23, 2020, 2:48 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

After  9 months to Sept.

The national government’s budget deficit slid in September this year as both revenues and spending contracted during the month, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.

The Duterte administration incurred a P138.5 billion fiscal gap last month, down by 22 percent compared with P178.6 billion in September last year.

“The budget gap narrowed as the 10.19 percent year-over-year decline in revenue collections was matched by a 15.4 percent dip in public spending,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The September figure brought the national government’s first nine-month budget deficit to P879.2 billion, almost three times higher than the shortfall from a year ago, but still 32.30 percent below the revised program of P1.298 trillion for the period.

Revenue collections last month reached P212.4 billion, lower compared with P236.5 billion a year ago. Of the total, 91 percent were from taxes while the remaining nine percent came from non-tax sources.

At end-September, revenues of the government decreased by 7.9 percent to P2.143 trillion from P2.328 trillion in the same period last year, but 8.8 percent above the P1.970 trillion revised target.

“To date, 85 percent of the P2.520 trillion full-year program has been collected,” the Treasury said.

Collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for September reached P140.6 billion, declining by 6.56 percent from P150.5 billion in the same month last year.

The BIR’s cumulative collection in the first eight-months hit P1.444 trillion, a 9.91 percent reduction from last year’s P1.603 trillion, but was 10.19 percent higher than the revised program of P1.310 trillion set for the period.

The Bureau of Customs revenue performance in September, on the other hand, was 13.69 percent lower year-on-year, totaling P50.8 billion.

At end-September, Customs total tax haul amounted to P398.0 billion, also down by 15.32 percent from the previous year’s outturn of P470 billion, but surpassed the revised target of P372.2 billion by 6.96 percent.

Along with BIR and Customs, the Treasury’s income also fell by 19 percent last moth to P8.6 billion due to the 87.40 percent contraction in government share from Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.’s income.

The Treasury also said its income was affected by the timing of remittance of interest on advances from state-owned companies, offsetting the higher dividend collection from government shares of stocks.

However, the January to September Treasury income of P201.6 billion was still 69.95 percent higher compared to the P118.6 billion collected last year and P1 billion above the revised program.

Meanwhile, government expenditures in September declined by 15 percent to P350.9 billion from P415.1 billion due to the timing of subsidy releases and the base effect of higher infrastructure spending in the same month last year.

Despite the decline, spending still achieved a 15.07 percent year-on-year growth at end-September, boosted by COVID-19 related expenditures but was still 7.53 percent lower than the revised program of P3.269 trillion.

“The lag is attributed mainly to measures under RA No. 11494 or the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ which are still to be implemented following the approval of the law last September 11, 2020,” the Treasury said.